Silent Night: Coping with a Carol

Silent Nightecard created by Grzegorz Łobiński for the EcardSphere project.

I got a text from my sister yesterday. She’d been in the public restroom with her three-year old for twenty minutes waiting for her to go pee, while my other niece decided to take advantage of her captive audience by misbehaving.

“Shoot me now!” she wrote.

“I wish I could,” I wrote back, “it would be the kindest thing.”

I went Christmas shopping yesterday too. Minus the toilet training, and with both my boys at the grandparents, you’d think I’d have an easy time of it.

Not so – Squirrel decided to take advantage of his captive audience by projecting all his seasonal angst on me.

Apparently, I’m doing this whole Christmas shopping thing wrong. Who knew?

I endured that lecture all the way to the parking lot of the first store where I suggested he might want to drop me off so he didn’t have to personally witness my deeply flawed shopping routine.

So when he returned only a few moments later, I did what any wife in my situation would do. I hid in aisle and made him come find me.

When he discovered me a few minutes later in the hardware section staring at a wall of mops and brooms, I was afraid we were going to have to go through the whole “focused shopping” lecture again. But instead he handed me a dark chocolate rosemary sea salt cookie. Turns out he’d gone to my favourite bakery to clear his head and ended up purchasing this much welcomed peace-offering.

Things went pretty well after that, we managed to complete our shopping and get home without too much squabbling, but when we pulled into the driveway, things took a turn for the worse.

For some reason, Squirrel took great exception to the fact that I had three sets of car keys in my purse.

That sparked a whole lecture on always putting my things away in the same place so I didn’t have to steal his keys. It went on and on and on and when it reached its most fevered pitched, I did what any sane person in my situation would do. I broke into a highly enthusiastic version of “Silent Night” – all six verses, making sure to miss all the high notes.

Who knew that would be so effective?

Slee-eeep in heavenly pee-eeeeace! Slee-eeep in heavenly peace!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Mini Me

He sings to himself when he’s sitting in the hot tub. He counts things just because they’re there. He sounds out the words on labels: S-c-r-u-b, Y-o-p, N-u-t-s…and, he spits fire when he thinks he’s been wronged.

After five years of asking: “Where did he come from?”

I think I’ve finally figured it out.

shopping after babies, it’s labour

No matter how much you love it, shopping is still work. In my case, onerous work.

It took two Nordstrom’s sales associates ninety minutes and twenty different styles to outfit me with two bras this weekend. And to think there was a time when I didn’t like strangers in the fitting room with me.

There was also a time when my breasts didn’t need quite so much help, but that all ended around the time I had babies.

I still can’t make sense of it. One minute you’re pregnant with your dignity and the next you’re naked barfing into a metal trash can in the bathtub with an audience of interns. Or, you’re flat on your back with a relative on either side holding your legs behind your head while you push everything but the baby out of your body.

Seriously, they should really ease pregnant women into the process. If only ob gyns would say: “soon you’ll be naked wearing your knees as earrings in front of strangers, would you like to give it a dry run?”  Or, “how about we get you used to bathing with an audience, I’ll call in someone from the waiting room.”

You’d refuse, of course. But that’s the kind of  honesty you appreciate on the big day, trust me.

Now where was I?

Ah, yes! Shopping. I planned this shopping trip down to the minute. Since we moved to Whistler I decided we need to go to Seattle once or twice a year to buy necessities. I made lists. I googled stores. I checked reviews.

I shop much differently since the great declutter. I never buy anything that isn’t a ten, right now – not in a month when I lose five pounds. I never buy anything that looks great but isn’t comfortable. I only buy things for my real life (kids, work, Whistler) not my fantasy life (Beyonce’s) and I only buy things that I’d happily maintain for the rest of my life. If I buy something that’s simply a want (like perfume or makeup), I sample it at least twice on separate occasions before I buy it.

The result is some pretty arduous shopping. The try on to buy ration is about 30:1. And yet strangely, I still enjoy the process. I noticed a disturbing trend though on this recent trip. After picking over every last item in Nordstrom I chose six long-sleeved tops I was willing to try on.

A lovely girl followed me around whisking away my choices almost before the hangers left the racks and storing them away in a change room for me. But when I finally ambled into the change room to try them on, my six picks were hardly recognizable, interspersed as they were with her ten picks – for me! Does she think being this particular is easy?

It’s not, it’s exhausting. So please remind me how much work shopping is before I plan any more trips south. And, if I start looking wistfully at babies again, please suggest a labour dress rehearsal. You know I won’t go there again.

george carlin: finding a place for your stuff

For those of you who followed me over from 100things100days.com. Thank-you loyal blog readers!

This is my gift to you. If you missed it back then, I hope you click above to hear George Carlin’s take on “stuff”. I discovered this classic on the minimalists back when I’d only just begun to see the humour in Squirrel’s and my stuff.

Packing for a holiday will never been the same. Never.